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Monday 19 April 2010

The Republican Wrong – Restraint By Decree

While we in the UK are gearing up for another two and a half weeks of politics, over in the USA the non stop anti-Obama machine that is Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) continues its crusade because, well, it can, and it delivers ratings.

Typical of the constant stream of slanted and appallingly poor journalism was last week’s ridiculous suggestion that the logo of the recent Nuclear Security Summit had been deliberately made similar to the flags of predominantly Muslim countries. This suggestion, accompanied by the hint that Barack Obama is somehow favouring Muslims, was given a comprehensive working over by Jon Stewart on Wednesday’s Daily Show (the video can be seen in the UK on 4OD).

Allied to the frankly barmy Fox attacks on the Obama Administration has been the Channel’s support for the so-called Tea Party Movement, which has included a Fox producer being caught orchestrating the crowd at one gathering, and blatant exaggeration of the movement’s support (also rumbled by Stewart). And this was set to continue until Rupe personally intervened: Murdoch declared to a gathering in Washington DC “I don’t think we should be supporting the Tea Party, or any other Party”.

And, to demonstrate who really wields the power at Fox, in the wake of Murdoch’s statement the Channel’s “star” Sean Hannity, who had been due to address a Tea Party rally in Cincinnati last Thursday, was summoned back to New York by senior Fox executives and his appearance cancelled.

Previously, Rupe has left Fox News well alone: under the bullish Roger Ailes the Channel has delivered the ratings and therefore the revenue. But with what looks like a shot across the bows of Ailes and his “stars”, Rupe may have signalled his disquiet with a style of presentation that is becoming increasingly ridiculed.

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